COVID-19 poses a serious threat to health systems worldwide, but particularly in countries like Lesotho where the health system is least developed.
The U.S. Embassy in Lesotho announced through a press release that the additional $3.75 million is for the emergency health assistance that the United States is providing to Lesotho for COVID-19 global pandemic response.
Since the outbreak began, the U.S. government has committed more than $775 million (14.7 billion Maloti) in assistance worldwide specifically aimed at fighting the pandemic, with much more to come.
The funding will save lives by improving public health education, supporting healthcare facilities, and increasing laboratory, disease-surveillance, and rapid-response capacity in more than 100 of the most at-risk countries around the world.
Through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States is providing $3 million (approx. 57 Million Maloti) to partners including the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), PSI, ICAP at Columbia University, and the Ministry of Health.
The funding will focus on: 1) laboratory programs and testing, 2) disease surveillance, 3) infection prevention and control, and 4) community mitigation efforts. More than a third of this funding (approx.. $1 million or 19.5 million Maloti) will support laboratory capacity building and laboratory testing to help boost Lesotho’s capacity to diagnose COVID-19 cases and to improve turn-around time for test results.
Another $800,000 (15 million Maloti) will provide infection prevention and control, training and technical assistance in healthcare facilities, as well as procure locally-produced personal protection equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. The funding includes $30,000 (569,000 Maloti) to support the Ministry of Health’s national toll-free hotline.
Through a grant from USAID to Jhpiego, the U.S. government is providing $750,000 to support the Ministry of Health in two inter-related pillars of COVID-19 response: 1) case management support within the designated COVID-19 treatment centers and additional health care facilities as needed and 2) context-specific risk communication with a focus on healthcare workers.
This new funding builds upon historic and ongoing commitments to Lesotho, where the United States has provided more than $834 million (over 15.8 billion Maloti) in health assistance over the last twenty years.
The United States further continues to help countries build resilient health care systems that can prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks.